Addressing Homelessness in Greater Las Vegas, Clark County
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- Nevada, Clark County, ClarkCountyNV, ClarkCountyNV, Public Access TV, Community Media, PEG, Youtube, Las Vegas homeless, Clark County homeless, Clark County Nevada homeless, homelessness, homeless, Nevada homeless, Southern Nevada homeless, Las Vegas social services, Clark County social services, las vegas homeless outreach, nursing home care, homeless shelters, las vegas homeless shelters, Southern Nevada homelessness continuum of care, Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth, St. Judge's Ranch for Children, Salvation Army of Southern Nevada, Catholic Charities, Jim Gibson, 2019
To better address homelessness and get people off of our streets and sidewalks and into shelters, the Clark County Commissioners recently increased the number of beds available to homeless families, youth and those who are medically fragile. In all, the new or expanded programs could help provide shelter to more than 700 homeless individuals every day. These programs are in addition to the existing local services for the homeless and those at-risk of becoming homeless funded by $76 million in grants and direct spending from the County, state and federal governments. These services include indigent nursing home care, homeless outreach teams, and more than 5,300 beds in area shelters and emergency housing programs. About 6,000 people are believed to be homeless in Southern Nevada on any given night, and about 16,600 individuals here will experience homelessness at least once during the year. To address this issue, the commissioners agreed to spend up to $12 million annually in revenue from marijuana business license fees to bolster homeless programs and services. (This funding is separate from the revenue from taxes and fees collected by the state, which is used to fund education.) On May 7, 2019, the commissioners approved spending $1.8 million to support an additional 76 beds at the Shannon West Homeless Youth Center, plus 60 beds for homeless individuals with medical issues who are being discharged from a hospital. On June 18, 2019, the commissioners approved spending $6.1 million to provide rental assistance, case management, financial assistance and supportive services for 180 families. Before those recent contracts were approved, Clark County and our community partners supported 5,336 beds in various shelters and programs, including emergency shelter and rental assistance, as well as programs and services such as indigent nursing home care, and the homeless outreach teams. Typically, the County spends about $50 million annually on programs and services for the homeless, and those at-risk of becoming homeless. Approximately $39 million of this total comes directly from County taxpayers, and the remaining funding comes from various state and federal grant programs. In addition, nonprofit agencies in Southern Nevada receive about $14 million a year in federal grants through the Southern Nevada Homelessness Continuum of Care (CoC). (The County supports the activities of the CoC, including coordinating the grant application.) Organizations supported by CoC funds include the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth, St. Jude’s Ranch for Children, and the Salvation Army of Southern Nevada and many others. The County also provides funding for significant one-time projects, such as new construction, that will enhance the services available to the homeless and those at-risk of becoming homeless. For example, in 2018, the County provided $2.4 million to Catholic Charities so they could expand their food pantry and renovate their kitchen, enabling the organization to significantly increase the number of meals they can provide. The goal of all these efforts is to prevent homelessness when we can and help those who are currently homeless. The initial focus of the additional support is for families with children, youth and the medically fragile. Programs aimed at other sub-populations are expected. Already, our community has seen success in fighting homelessness among veterans. In 2015, the U.S. Office of Housing and Urban Development confirmed that Southern Nevada had functionally ended veteran homelessness. This means the Southern Nevada community has built a robust service system, and episodes of veteran homelessness in most cases are rare, brief, and non-recurring. In a related effort, Clark County commissioners recently supported designating 10 parcels in the Southwest, currently federal land, land for affordable housing development. This is intended to address the significant lack of affordable housing in our community. According to a recent federal study, Clark County’s affordable-housing shortage is the second largest in the nation (Orlando, Fla. was first), with only 14 affordable and available homes for every 100 extremely low-income renter households. For more information, please visit ClarkCountyNV.gov.
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